Dyson V7 Motorhead
The best cordless vacuum for most people
Strong enough to replace a good plug-in vacuum for most carpet cleaning, with enough battery life for most apartments and some small houses.
Or, if you’re interested in a cordless stick vacuum as a backup for quickly cleaning up small messes, get whatever is cheap.
Hoover BH50020PC Linx Signature Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Good performance, great price
For quick pickups or good-enough apartment cleaning, the Hoover Linx is the sturdiest cordless vac for the money.
A low-effort robot for keeping tidy: Best robot vacuum
If you’re interested in a robot vacuum, and willing to pay for it, then hell yeah, get one. They aren’t perfect (as we explain in our guide to the best robot vacuums), but they will help to keep floors tidy with very little effort and oversight on your part.
People who have pets stand to gain the most from robot vacuums. Nothing else will keep up with hair, kibble, and litter as reliably as a machine that runs automatically and never gets lazy. Furry housemates or not, most people are surprised at how much junk these things collect. Some great models aren’t even that expensive compared with human-driven vacuum cleaners. And all you really have to do is hit start (or set a schedule), occasionally rescue the bot when it gets stuck somewhere, and empty the dust bin. You’ll need to change the filters and detangle the moving parts from time to time, but that’s the same with any kind of vacuum.
Robots are nowhere near as strong as any of the human-driven vacuums we recommend. They also can’t clean carpets with long fibers, or anything that’s not the floor (no stairs, no car, no couches). If your pet has loose bowels, the bot might smear its poop everywhere. And some people end up disappointed in their bots because they expect them to act smarter. Our advice is to try not to watch these things work.
Eufy RoboVac 11S
A quiet, nimble, affordable robot vacuum
The easiest robot to own. It runs quieter and fits under more furniture than any other robot vac, and thanks to its nimble, persistent nav system, it will rarely need your attention. Great for keeping floors tidy in most homes.
iRobot Roomba 960
Bigger homes, better cleaning
The Roomba 960 has the best of what bots can offer: better carpet cleaning, smarter navigation for larger spaces, and smartphone control.
iRobot Roomba i7+
The best robot vac money can buy
A self-emptying dustbin and the ability to clean specific rooms on command make this the easiest, most satisfying Roomba to use—if you’re willing to pay for it.
A strong, versatile handheld vacuum: Best handheld vacuum
If you don’t opt for a cordless vacuum, it’s handy to have a little handheld vacuum for small messes. As we cover in our guide to the best handheld vacuum, a cheapish one is fine for occasionally tidying up. They can suck up small spills on floors and countertops easily.
For pets: Best vacuum for pet hair
Any vacuum can clean up pet hair—pet owners don’t need to buy a special model to do the job well. Anytime you see “animal” or “pet” in the name of a vacuum, it means only that the model comes with a tool that makes it easier to clean pet hair off upholstery.
One exception to consider: If you have a lot of hairy pets, like four golden retrievers or a half-dozen furry cats, you might want to avoid bagged vacuums entirely. Pet hair fills bags quickly, and the cost of replacing them so frequently can add up.
Although it’s true that any vacuum can clean up your pet’s hair, none can get the job done better than a robot vacuum. If you want to read more on why, check our post on the best vacuum for cleaning up pet hair.